SWU student researches video games and aggressive behavior
Study sheds light on behavior of winners, losers
The effects of violent video games on the gamer is a hotly debated topic and a research subject for Southern Wesleyan University student Gordon Overholtzer.
Overholtzer, a psychology major from Staunton, Va., along with his professor, Emily Germain, gave presentations on the topic at two academic events in April: The Thirteenth Annual Georgia Undergraduate Research in Psychology (GURP) Conference and the Tenth Annual South Carolina Upstate Research Symposium.
Overholtzer presented his paper, titled "Effects of Competitive and Cooperative Violent Game Play on Aggressive Behavior." His research sought to shed light on possible theories concerning the relationship between violent video games and aggressive behavior.
“The central goal of the research was to see if there was another mediating variable involved with violent games increasing aggression beside violent game play,” Overholtzer said. “We found one link – winning a violent game mediated the aggressive behavior. Losing related less to aggressive behavior.”
The study involved participants split into competitive multiplayer, cooperative multiplayer, and single player groups playing “Call of Duty.” The expected result that members of the competitive group would display more aggressive behavior did not hold true; instead, members of the single player group exhibited the most aggression and winning was associated with aggressive behavior.
The research was funded in 2013 by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Undergraduate Student/Faculty Research Program Grant, which provided $2,700 to fund Overholzer’s project, one of two research projects conducted at Southern Wesleyan.
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